Rolex is a widely known status symbol, with over 700,000 of its timepieces pumped out annually. It’s also one of the most counterfeited watch brands out there. Rolex watches are one of the most sought-out luxury items in the world. As a result, there is a huge market for replica (fake) Rolex watches.
Most replicas are made in China; they typically sell between $25 to $500 and the quality has improved over the past years. The Rolex Datejust and Rolex Submariner are prime targets for these replicas. Here’s an example of an authentic Rolex Submariner.
Learn how to find out if a Rolex is fake or not with the following rules. Even experienced dealers can get fooled by bogus watches. While some replicas are easy to spot right away, other more sophisticated counterfeit Rolex watches may be much harder to identify.
To help protect yourself from dishonest sellers and imitation merchandise, here are a few detailed examples of how to spot a fake Rolex from a genuine timepiece.
Easy Ways to Spot a Fake Rolex
Experienced luxury watch authenticators can swiftly identify potential issues in a watch for sale based on just a few details. Consider reviewing these indicators for authenticity:
One of the best indicators between a Rolex replica vs real is its price. If you’re looking at a Rolex and it is being sold for three hundred dollars or less, then it is almost certain to be a fake Rolex. The simple truth is that luxurious Rolex watch models are not inexpensive items, so if the deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Be careful.
An easy way to check is to find a similar model watch on our website and see what they are being priced at. You can also visit eBay to see what similar items have been sold.
Real, genuine, 100% authentic watches, even used, start at about $2,000 minimum on our site.
When the fake watch is sold for over $700 that you will need to take your purchase to a watchmaker so they can remove the back of the Rolex and view the inner movements to know for sure if it’s a counterfeit or not.
Location, Location, Location!
Like in real estate, “Location. Location. Location” is very important with watches. If you’re buying a Rolex on a side alley or at a local swap, meet the chances are a lot higher that this watch is a fake. You are much better off buying a watch from a reputable business with a good reputation.
Our goal is to provide our clients with high-quality watches, which keeps them coming back to Brilliance Jewels whenever they want to purchase watches from a reputable and trustworthy seller.
There are many reputable dealers, but it never hurts to do your homework to ensure you get a genuine timepiece. Google does an excellent job of showing you the most established, trusted retailers to help safeguard against non-genuine models from entering the market.
Lastly, one big guarantee is the serial number unique for every original Rolex.
At Brilliance Jewels, you will find a guarantee of authenticity, a 24-month warranty, official appraisals, and mostly always original paperwork and boxes from Rolex itself. Each watch in our collection undergoes a thorough inspection by our in-house buyers.
Here is a fun first-look test for you:
Test Your Eyes: Which One Is Real?
If you said the watch on the right side, you are correct!
Material or Watch Quality
Rolex is known for being the most counterfeited luxury watch brand out there. When you shopping for one, it’s important to pay attention to its build and quality. You must be aware of signs to spot a fake Rolex! Here are some things to keep in mind:
The Magnification & Cyclops
On Rolex watches with a date (DateJust, Submariner, etc.), the date has to be very small to work properly, so Rolex adds a magnification glass, or Cyclops window, to allow the wearer to see it more easily. Therefore, a cyclops window, or magnifier, is added to make a date more visible. On all Rolex models, the magnification is 2.5X, and the date jumps out at you. On fakes, this is often set to just 1.5X, so the date is harder to see.
Cyclops is a really hard thing to get right not just because of magnification but also the clarity of the number. Rolex uses anti-reflective material under the cyclops to make it readable, but it is harder to find, so most fake watches don’t have it.
The cyclops on the left do not magnify the date enough. A real Rolex would magnify the date by 2.5 times.
The Rolex cyclops is the magnifying lens above the date window on the face of their watches. On a genuine Rolex, the Cyclops is convex and magnifies the date 2.5 times for ease of readability. If you notice that the magnification lens is flat and the date isn’t magnified as such, then you are looking at a fake. To spot counterfeit watches, you need to pay close attention to every detail.
The Weight: If It Feels Light, It Isn’t Right.
“Fake Rolex watches are generally lighter, whereas a real Rolex is made of high-quality metals and will weigh significantly more,” William May said.
Real vs Fake Rolex Weight
Due to cheaper construction materials, a fake Rolex watch will feel lighter and flimsy. A genuine Rolex only uses the finest materials in construction and craftsmanship; therefore the quality feels more durable.
The Serial Number Hallmarks
Everything on a Rolex is made to perfection, and if you take a magnifying glass and examine all the lettering on the dial, you’ll be able to spot a fake if there are any imperfections. There are usually some engravings on the interior of the band of the watch towards the actual face, but to see the engravings for the serial and model number, you have to take off the band.
Taking off the band is relatively simple; you just need a thumbtack with which u can push in the joints holding the band to the watch through the holes on the side of the watch or the bottom of the watch if there are no holes. Once you have it open, you should examine the engravings with a magnifying glass. They shouldn’t appear sandy or misshapen. The serial and model numbers on a genuine Rolex are deep and perfectly marked in solid, very fine lines that will actually glow in the light at an angle like a diamond cut edge.
You should also use this model number when you look up the watch to check if it’s the right one. The model number is on the 12 o’clock side of the watch.
The numbers on a fake or replica are typically made up of faint tiny dots due to a lower quality marking process. In other cases, these numbers on counterfeit watches will have a sandy-like appearance from being “acid etched,” as shown in the photo above on the left.
Real vs Fake Rolex Stampings
Replica watches come in different grades, and the really low-quality phony ones don’t even bother to put the Rolex name or famous crown logo on the watch. This, of course, is a dead giveaway that you are dealing with an inauthentic piece.
Movement & Inner Workings
You need special tools to view this one. With special Rolex tools, you can unscrew the case back and view the gears and inner workings of the watch. Everything should generally be different colors, and again everything should be perfect. There should be an engraving on the inside of the watch that says something like “Geneva, Switzerland,” the metal type, and the model number. This engraving should be perfect as well.
View the pictures below to see what the inside should look like.
The inside of your Rolex should look like this!
The movements should be a dead giveaway if you open up a watch.
The movement that powers a Rolex is an exercise in master watchmaking skills. A replica watch cannot match the craftsmanship, dedication, precision, and knowledge invested into each genuine caliber bona fide movement will always have “Rolex” engraved on it, which you can only see if you open up the watch.
Something else to consider is that the majority of the brand’s watches have mechanical movements, so if you’re looking at a quartz, that could be a red flag since only a very limited quantity of quartz watches throughout their history have been produced.
You can tell the watch on the left is fake because of the difference in quality. The dial of an original is perfect, so if you see any uneven fonts, inconsistent spaces between the lettering, smudges, and/or misspellings on the watch, then it is absolutely a fake.
Everything on a Rolex is made to perfection. Without opening up the watch, it is easy to see this from the writing on the dial distinguishing the model and other features. With a magnifying glass, examine all the lettering on the dial. The writing should be convex (outward), and there should be no bubbling. It should be relatively pristine.
The rehort – the inner ring that connects the dial to the glass represents another spot to look at. It is an inner ring connecting the dial to the glass or the bezel and has Rolex written all the way around. The addition is a laser crown – the logo as well as the serial number. If the writing is far from perfect, then you know you are not dealing with a real Rolex.
A Rolex Submariner undergoing a water test
Although Rolex Submariner timepieces are the only watches designed for deep-sea diving all models like the Rolex Yachtmaster are waterproof and perfectly sealed. Once you have the watch, dip it in a cup of water for a few seconds and take it out. Before doing this, PLEASE be sure that the crown is securely tightened/screwed in. If there is any leaking of water into the watch on the dial or anything, the watch is definitely a fake. All Rolex watches are 100% water-tight, and some counterfeit watches are not.
Rolex wristwatches are built to be waterproof, while forged versions will not withstand a proper water test. However, we strongly discourage using a water test if you doubt that the piece is real since it will likely ruin the watch, preventing you from being able to return it.
If you believe you have a non-genuine timepiece, have it inspected by a reputable professional.
With the exception of a few rare vintage models produced in the 1930s, Rolex does not equip their watches with clear case backs, so beware of replica watches with a clear window with a view of the movement on the back of the watch’s case.
A real Rolex will almost never have engraving on the back. Engravings on the back almost always mean the watch is a forgery.
Except for just a few rare instances, like the vintage Rolex Sea Dweller, COMEX, Military watches, and some older rare models, Rolex does not engrave the exterior of their case backs with words, logos, or pictures (a majority of the time). If the watch you’re looking at has engravings on the back of the watch’s case, then chances are you have a fake Rolex or imitation replica watch.
In addition, some authentic older lady Rolex Datejust models like the 6917, 69173, and 69174 have “Stainless Steel” and “Registered Design” on the back.
In 2002, Rolex began micro-etching a tiny crown logo at the 6 o’clock position on the crystal that protects the dial. If you’re looking at buying a Rolex made in 2002 onward, look for this marking for proof of authenticity. Since it’s so small, it is difficult to see with the naked eye. This laser-made crown logo is done with tiny dots at different heights and different depths, while it is not just one continuous line. This is almost impossible to copy, so it is also the best spot to recognize fake Rolex. This detail also makes it difficult for counterfeit watches to include.
The Metal & Model
Often times counterfeited Rolex watches will try to cheap out by making a normally expensive model in cheaper metals to gain more profit. You should always check the model number of the Rolex you are buying online to ensure that it matches up with the type of metal in the watch you are buying. A rule of thumb with the commonly counterfeited Rolex President: All Rolex President watches with the day (Monday, Tuesday, etc.) and the date (21,22,23…) are made out of platinum or gold, not stainless steel, and not two-tone. If someone tries to sell you a stainless President, they are cheating you.
Last but Not Least, an Easy Tell-Tale Sign: the Ticking!!!
Listen closely. If you hear loud ticking from your watch, this Rolex is a definite fake. Rolex watches do not make the ticking noises common with other watches. Counterfeiters can’t often perfect the gears, so a ticking noise is made, and this can help you spot fakes quite easily.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that second-hand Rolex watches are a perfect sweep. This is not true most models of Rolex tick at eight ticks or movements per second, so it is not a continuous sweep. Also, some models move at slower speeds.
Read More About Ticking Here